A stroll at Pike Place Market

 This article was originally published in 2012. It has been updated. 
Seattle can be absolutely magnificent in the summer, beautiful summer skies, greens and blues everywhere I look. Locals are relaxed, enjoying summer parties, barbecues, or trips to the beach.
One of the best places to experience the Emerald City is the Pike Place Market neighborhood. It is colorful and vibrant, and packed on weekends (especially during summer months, with the onslaught of cruise ship passengers and tourists.) Finding fresh produce, locally-grown flowers, seafood and local crafts there year round is another perk. The concentration of French eateries in the area also makes it an appealing option when I feel homesick. Maximilien. Café Campagne. Le Pichet. Le Panier bakery: What would French expats and local francophiles do without you? 
But in the end, the Market is simply a wonderful spot to indulge in a favorite guilty pleasure: people watching. I never go without bringing my faithful sidekick, the Panasonic Lumix LX7 with me. The capable little device is so small and unobtrusive, most people think I am a tourist myself. When I do ask for permission, most strollers do not find it intimidating and are happy to oblige and strike a pose. 
Today, instead of showing you the traditional stalls of Pike Place Market, I have decided to introduce you to some of the people I met there during recent outings. Mes amis du marché. They live there, work there, or are just visiting. No matter. The market would not be the same without them. Are you ready? Allons-y… 
First, meet the friendly Pike Place Market merchants… 

Pike Place Market
Le marchand d’huile d’olive
(The olive oil seller)
Pike Place Market
La pause cigarette…
(smoking break) 
Pike Place Market
Les marchands de fruits et légumes
(fruit and vegetable sellers) 
Pike Place Market
“Goûtez mes pâtes parfumées!”
(“Sample my flavored pasta!”) 
Le poissonnier
(The fishmonger)

Les habitués. Regulars. The musicians and artists of Pike Place market.

Pike Place Market

Les visiteurs du marché. Visitors.

Pike Place Market
Déjeuner au Panier
(Lunch at the Panier French bakery) 
Elles aiment les fleurs!
(Flower lovers)
Pike Place Market
Les Amoureux
La Gourmande
(Sweet tooth)
La dame et le chien
(The lady and the dog)

Just a few steps away, north of Pike Place Market, is a wonderful urban park, Victor Steinbrueck Park, pictured at the top of this post. The place screams Seattle: Expansive mountains and water views, quirky characters, laid-back vibe. 

Le rêveur
La Pause-déjeuner
(Lunch break) 
Brad Pitt à Seattle?
L’Artiste des rues
(The street artist)

Taking a trip to Pike Place Market, a beloved local landmark, is a Northwest tradition. I never tire of it. It is my favorite spot downtown. It appeals to all my senses and provides a much-needed “urban fix” for this unabashed city girl. To get there, I ignore the long drive out of suburbia, the much coveted and overpriced parking spots, and the crowds. 
The Market neighborhood is friendly and colorful, but I also love its gritty side (Gum Wall; graffiti, anyone?) Try it next time you are in town. You have met some of my friends, but there are other fun characters and places to see: Rachel the Pig. Flying fish. The original Starbucks store… 

A bientôt.

All photos by French Girl in Seattle.

Do not use without permission.

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What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comment section below, (I love reading your messages and reply to most.) Don’t be selfish and share with a friend! Merci. Véronique (French Girl in Seattle)


  • ça va, le sol ne tangue pas trop sous tes pieds?ça me faisait toujours ça qq heures apres avoir debarqué..
    Jolie galerie de portraits, le genre de photos que je n’ose jamais prendre mais pourtant que j’adore voir! Magnifiées par le noir et blanc.(J’adore le vendeur d’huile d’olive, mais d’où vient l’huile?!)
    Je te souhaite une bonne reprise! Bises !

    • Hello Marie. Tout va bien. Le “roulis” s’est un peu calme… C’est bon d’etre de nouveau sur le plancher des vaches. Ce magasin d’huile d’olive est sympa. Les produits viennent des USA (Californie) et du reste du monde. L’huile se deguste comme un vin, ce qui me fait toujours un peu sourire.

  • Oh boy, this made me very homesick! There’s nothing like Seattle on a beautiful summer day. I used to work a block from the market and went there frequently. Thanks for bringing back happy memories.

  • Fantastic! This could be published as a book, Véronique. Like the black and white effect! Takes me back to lovely memories of visits to Seattle.

  • Dearest Véronique,

    That is funny to read about the Emerald City, since that is also the name of our city of Dublin. But for other reasons, emerald green from Ireland…
    Great rapportage with people shots; love that!
    Hugs to you,

  • once again thanks for taking us along!and now i know why starbuck’s always available brew is called pike place-another fine post for the books. enjoy your week in your land home-la rentree is right around the corner-

    • Bonjour g, my friend. How is summer treating you on the East Coast? I must confess it is good to be home. I feel I have moved a bit too much this summer. Junior is camping this week and I have the [quiet] home all to myself. Bliss.

    • Thank you for stopping by… and with great recommendations to boot. I have heard of the pink door but have never been. Just checked out their website and I must say I am really intrigued by that charming cabaret… Will make sure to go soon! Thanks for the tip.

  • You have such a great eye Veronique..and love how you (naturally) bring out the French side. Today, marking Julia Child’s 100th B-Day we can thank her and First Lady Jackie Kennedy for that. They came into public view at the same time and really reintroduced a strong French foodie vibe to a wider audience. We’re lucky to have these Frenchy pockets in America….I always make a beeline to them wherever they are.

    I’m very fond of your camera too!

    Glad you all had a fabulous, safe sail and now can rest a little from vacay before school starts 😉 !

    • Bonjour Suzanne. Wonderful to hear from you, as always. Your post on Julia Child was lovely, and well deserved by that “grande dame” of French cooking. We are finally winding down at home. This has been a[another] busy summer!

    • Hello Peter. It was a sunny day… and that makes people happy here, in Seattle, and everywhere else too I suspect. This was my very first street photography attempt but I predict there will be many more. Glad you had such a fantastic time in Italy with the family.

  • Thank you for taking me on a stroll through this wonderful local market. (I enjoy visiting markets – French ones of course are a real treat and I recently spent at least an hour in the market in Munich). I love the way you have captured the various stallholders and visitors and I especially like the black and white photos. Great post, Véronique.
    P.S. Thank you very much for your wonderful comments about my Hong Kong post. We certainly don’t need walk-in fountains in the UK – we just need to step outside the door. We need some of your warm , dry weather here!

  • Summer in Seattle sounds super Veronique. It must be quite nice to be ‘aground’ again! Love your street shots and your choice of B&W, I’m a big fan of the Lumix as well, so light and easy to use oui! I can’t imagine anyone minding having their picture taken by you. Enjoy the rest of your summer, thankfully we’re almost at the end of winter..spring soon yay!!

    • Summer in Seattle – whenever it does arrive – is, indeed, a special time, Grace. The last few weeks have been beautiful and VERY hot, and that is unusual here. I can’t believe your winter is already winding down, but I guess it makes sense, since fall is fast approaching here. We live in a funny world, don’t we? 🙂

  • Back on terra firma once again, my fellow City Girl. So nice to be home again. I remember a wonderful two weeks in Seattle during the summer quite a few years ago. I think we stayed at the Edgewater Inn right on the Sound. We could walk to Pike Place Market. I don’t think I’ve ever had such luscious raspberries. And I do remember all the great French eateries.

    We were there for the “Ring Cycle” at the Seattle Opera, which was very well done.

    Your fabulous pix made me think about a return visit.

  • It has been about five years since I was at Pike Place and love the unique perspective of this area. I remember the Inn at the Market and its delightful French café chairs and views of the water.

    You have really taken a step out with your street portraits – Bravo!! Most people are willing to be photographed and you have surely found your talent here. Love them in black and white, bien sûr!


    • Merci Genie. Great to hear from you! Inn at the Market is my favorite hotel in Seattle (well, if I did ACTUALLY need to spend the night downtown, of course 🙂 Street photography is a lot of fun. I predict more of these shoots in the near future…

  • I have enjoyed my visits to the Pike Place Market over the years including pausing a few minutes to watch the fish guys toss whole salmons. We have had some very nice meals in the places you mention. I am headed up on Tuesday for the day for meetings but won’t have time to get to the market as I am turning around and headed home the same evening.

    • Dear Michel. Too bad you will not have time to return to the Market next week, but I hope you can do it soon. Good thing about Pike Place Market, is that it has been around for over 100 years. I am pretty certain it will still be there for many more… Bon voyage to you!

  • Loved the visit to the Pike Place markets. You aren’t so far away from home after all with some markets around. Your photos of the locals are just gorgeous Véronique 🙂 I loved meeting them. Isn’t that just what makes a market? A world even? The people. Bisous de Toulouse

    • Exactement, Ange. It’s the people, the people first, then the place 🙂 I always look at people, wherever I go. You never get bored looking at them… Take care and keep up with the French posts. You are doing great!

    • Hello Angela, and welcome. Darn. It would have been fun to meet you, especially if you were around for a couple of months! I just visited your blog and I can tell we would have a lot to talk about. Maybe later…

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